Whole Story

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Green Bagging It

By Archive, January 2, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
With the ringing in of the New Year, why not make one of your resolutions for 2008 a green one? When you head to the checkout with your purchases at the grocery store or any store, bring your own reusable bags. Keep a stash in your car or a small foldable one in your purse, and you'll be ready to answer "No, thanks," to "Do you need a bag?" Challenge everyone in your family to remember to take reusable bags whenever you head out for a shopping trip. This simple step to preserve natural resources really adds up when you think of all the plastic bags you might use in a year. Read about the decision our two Austin stores recently made to end the use of plastic bags at the checkout, one more step on the ongoing journey toward a greener operation.
Category: Green Action




kp says ...
For Christmas, I gave presents "wrapped" in reusable bags. It was part of the gift, they were usually less expensive than a gift bag, AND I didn't use wrapping paper which cannot be recycled. This year I plan on doing it for all gifts!!
01/02/2008 3:35:36 PM CST
JAD says ...
kp, that was a GREAT idea!! I think I'm going to use that one! I don't like wrapping paper myself...I think using a plain paper shopping bag, cutting it to be flat and decorating it creatively makes better wrapping paper. That's how I currently mail packages through the post office except I don't decorate the packages. I also use reusable bags every time & everywhere I shop, and I don't like how sometimes I get looked at funny...like "oh, here comes one of those....", alsmost as if they don't know why I'm using my own bags? Alot of stores accept them and are very accomodating, but others are clueless. Especially disbount department stores...does anyone else use their reusable bags in stores OTHER than FOOD stores? or am I the only one? All I know is that I really dislike plastic bags. Thanks for your tip, kp!!
01/03/2008 7:11:48 AM CST
Mary says ...
Not only do I use the reusable bags at the checkout, but I use reusable mesh bags for produce instead of the single-use plastic they have in the produce section. The bags are see-through, so the checkout clerk can still see what you purchased. Their weight is very minimal so I don't really worry about having to pay more by using them either. Try www.ecobags.com! The less plastic used, the better!
01/03/2008 7:52:25 AM CST
Tricia Andrews says ...
I have gone vegetarian for good starting Jan 1, 2008. It is better for my health, the animals I don't eat, and the environment. I will also make a very strong effort to buy foods only from the southeastern states (I am in North Carolina) so my carbon footprint is smaller. I will continue to take my own bags to the grocery store.
01/03/2008 8:15:14 AM CST
JAD says ...
Thanks fdor the tip on the ecobags website, Mary...I just ordered the mesh produce bags...I was wondering how to solve that problem! I buy ALOT of veggies at Whole Foods Market and I was really feeling gulity about putting them in the plastic produce bags, but I didn't know what else to do...now I can't wait to get those mesh ones!!
01/03/2008 9:44:11 AM CST
Rozanne Oliver says ...
For those plastic bags that still accumulate: nonprofit food distribution programs -- e.g., Arlington Food Assistance Center in Arlington, VA -- need clean bags for groceries for clients.
01/03/2008 10:42:13 AM CST
Maril Crabtree says ...
Last July 4th I declared my Independence from plastic bags and have since made it a focus. Like KP, I gave gifts this year in reusable bags that I purchased online at www.1bagatatime.com. The bags come with a tag that concisely explains why reusable bags are important and just how much energy you're saving by using them. I carry my bags in the car so that I can use them at all stores. I've also discuvered, though, that for those quick drugstore purchases, etc. you can do without a bag of any kind. Just tell the clerk "no thanks, I don't need a bag." Sooner or later I hope to retrain a few of them not to automatically drop something into a plastic bag! My New Year's bag resolution is to extend my focus to trash bags. I recently found out that they make BIODEGRADABLE trash bags. Otherwise, the trash bags that get buried in the landfill simply live on for centuries. Only a few stores carry these bags - Whole Foods does in some locations but not all - they cost a bit more but are just as strong and will biodegrade in a matter of weeks, not eons!
01/03/2008 10:47:19 AM CST
Kris says ...
Oooh the mesh bags is a *great* idea! In 2007 my main goal was water conservation. I am also in NC in one of the counties hit hardest by the drought. All the simple things you hear about doing; not leaving the water running, washing only full loads of clothes, etc...really do make a difference. We reduced our water consumption from almost 40 gallons a person in my household to less than 30 gallons per person/day/month. I still want it to be less. I will be installing low-flow shower heads in our showers and I would love to replace our washer as well to a front loader (if only that big price tag wasn't in the way...sigh). My washer uses a ghastly 50 gallons of water per load...ack. We've also gone to shopping with our own bags and food shopping almost exclusively at the Farmer's Market during the spring/summer/fall months for produce, herbs, and eggs. We changed all of our Christmas lights this year to LED lights...and while the "true white" took some getting used to and we definitely stuck out in the neighborhood, my energy consumption has not taken a noticable hit for the month of December like it usually does. This year, my big goal is to go paperless around the house where I can. I like paper towels, I enjoy paper towels, but we use soooooo many of them. So, through the use of dishcloths, hand towels, and fingertip towels, I would like to move towards *no* papertowels. I would also like to wrap gifts next year in reused items such as the already mentioned paper bags and cloth bags. We make our own household cleaners so I also like the idea given regarding an earth friendly cleaner being part of a gift.
01/03/2008 11:38:03 AM CST
Robin Franz says ...
Thanks for the eco-friendly tip with the bags. I go to a lot of conferences for work, and have turned all the bags I received through the events into grocery bags. I have a few at the office, a few in the car, and a few at home, so I am ready for all my purchases! Each set usually has a few plastic bags that I continue to reuse for produce.
01/03/2008 12:25:11 PM CST
AEP says ...
why use plastic bags for produce at all? I skip them completely and just pile everything into the cart. I've never believed the plastic saves me from any dirt or germs. If they're not shipped in plastic after what is usually a long journey (I wish I could get more local foods at WFM!), a plastic bag for the last mile of their journey to get to my home isn't going to do much.
01/03/2008 12:53:36 PM CST
jpeezy says ...
i like to use reusable bags and put the nickel i get each time in the bag. i shop frequently and by the end of the month i usually have enough to buy a compact flourescent bulb. goodbye, wasteful incandescents!!
01/03/2008 2:01:56 PM CST
F Savarick says ...
When we have a party and use those plastic utensils, I make a point of putting them in the dishwasher to be reused. This is the same as washing our flatware. It comes out clean and and ready to be reused and not put into landfill. Not sure why I didn't think of this sooner
01/03/2008 5:03:03 PM CST
Stasi says ...
Here's my green tip: we learned that we could purchase all wind power through our electric company. But being poor students, it was hard to justify the extra cost (it should be cheaper, IMHO!). However, we switched all our electronics - computers, TV, even microwave - to power strips and/or outlets connected to wall switches. We keep them off when not using them, and wouldn't you know, we more than made up for the cost of the wind power! Now we pay about the same electric bill, use a lot less electricity, and get it all from a clean source. What a great deal! (yes, at first it is annoying to reset your clocks or channels every time you turn the TV on, but we got used to it really fast and learned tricks for getting around those menus that pop up - usually just turning it off and on again will do it)
01/03/2008 6:10:39 PM CST
AJS says ...
I have found that when I go shopping, if I take my own tote bag, I can facilitate the process by packing my own groceries. There are moments when I have been caught off-guard without my tote bag; however, I'll make sure to minimize the number of bags I use (especially by not double-bagging). A trick I did while doing some New Years' shopping was to place all items subsequently purchased in the same bag (from the initial purchase). Since I was able to consolidate all of my errands within the same 6 block radius, I never moved the car. I was able to minimize carbon emissions and get exercise. Next time, to really make a difference, I think I'll take my tote bag and take the train!
01/03/2008 7:39:34 PM CST
Cassie says ...
This may sound extremely simple, but I noticed that my boyfriend and I would use insane amounts of paper towels daily! We switched to using cloth towels instead, and what a difference in the amount of garbage it has made! Cloth towels do the same job as paper, but you save so much money, and waste! Instead of going out weekly to fork more cash, just head to a washing machine, or even easier, wash them by hand in the sink.
01/03/2008 8:50:36 PM CST
terry says ...
i decided to start making my own "chewy granola bars" for the purpose of reducing preservatives in my family's diet. however, i came to realize that i'm also doing the environment a service. i wrap the bars in biodegradeable waxed paper and i don't have deal with an empty cardboard box!
01/03/2008 10:46:59 PM CST
Christine says ...
I hope that Whole Foods decides to discontinue plastic bags at all its location and not just in Austin!
01/04/2008 6:16:51 AM CST
Stacey says ...
I making a decision to buy only what my family will eat this year in an effort to try and reduce our food waste. Although our family is small, we only have a 2 year old son, every time I have to throw out food, I think of the energy it took to grow and get that to the supermarket shelf. I also think of the others who may not have enough to eat and of the money I'm wasting.
01/04/2008 6:18:30 AM CST
Karmell says ...
I want to take the BYOB one step further. Go through your families clothes and pick out the t-shirts no one wears anymore. Sew up the bottom seam and cut the neck to make the opening wider and POOF a free green bag! Keep them in your car and one small folded one in your purse. I also keep a clean reusable travel mug in my car for when I go to coffee shops.
01/04/2008 10:22:42 AM CST
CY says ...
I live in NYC and my new years resolution is to bring a reusable bag with me when ever I go shopping whether it is to the grocery store or just shopping in general. In order to help myself remember to grab a reusable bag before I leave. I've started to hang them by the door so I see them as I leave and just grab one and go.
01/04/2008 11:02:39 AM CST
Elizabeth says ...
For 2008 I have decided to move to as many environmentally friendly products as possible. As my conventional cleaning and household products run out, I'm replacing them with environmentally friendly cleaners, laundry detergent, cat litter, etc. I buy in bulk to reduce my use of packaging. I have been using reusable cloth grocery bags for some time, which I also take to other stores. I've also started buying more locally grown products when available, such as eggs, honey, cheese, grains and vegetables.
01/04/2008 3:54:35 PM CST
Felicia says ...
One step I make is the reusable shopping bags or saying no to a bag when I buy just a couple of products. I make great efforts to buy local and sustainable foods. When I need to buy canned goods and such, I read ingredients label and buy foods with as few processed ingredients as possible. All of those chemicals must contribute to global warming in more ways than one. Going green is helping me lose weight which helps reduce my carbon footprint as well. I try to walk when I can. And years before hybrids, I bought a car which gets a minimum of 35 mpg. My community has a recycling program which I take full advantage of. Not only are we able to recycle paper, boxes, plastic containers and cans but our yard waste program allows us to recycle certain foods that are turned into compost. When I purchase small appliances, I try to make sure they have multiple uses. Also, rechargeable batteries are reused a lot around my house. One of the easiest "greens" to do is donate your old items which still have life in them. If you know someone getting married or having a baby, see if you have items that they would like to use. When I got married, my parents and in-laws cleaned out their cabinets and helped us out with items we didn't receive in wedding showers. A bassinet that has been in my family for decades has cradled so many new babies, saved the new parent’s money and our landfills multiple pieces of furniture. This year for Christmas we participated in helping a local family by cleaning out our closet and donating two TV’s to the organization for other families. I'm ready to go back through my closet and donate more clothes to an organization that helps abused women acquire clothing to assist them in gaining employment and/or getting better jobs. I've started replacing my chemical cleaners with non-chemical items that clean even better, such as baking soda and vinegar. It's healthier for my lungs and cleaner for my drains which drain into waterways that fish swim in. When I am at home, I only use one glass to drink out of, instead of getting a new glass every time I want something to drink. Every light fixture in my home that would take a compact florescent light bulb was changed. If I only have a few dishes, I hand wash them. But I don’t just let the water run, I fill the sink with a little water and soap and wash until my rinse sink is full. Then I rinse them off and let them air dry or I towel dry with a cloth towel that is washable. I have a front loading high efficiency washer and dryer and three-fourths of my laundry is air dried reducing the amount I use my dryer. I also clean my dryer’s lint filter after every use. I have a programmable thermostat on my heater and keep it set to 66 degrees when we are not home. When we are home, we use blankets and dress warmly to keep the heater at about 70 degrees. But when we go to bed, the thermostat goes back to 66 degrees. I look for product packaging that is recyclable and made from recycled products. Also, I check out books and magazines from my local library. My plan for 2008 is to begin using washable cloth napkins at home instead of paper napkins. I already use dish towels to conserve paper towels when possible. There's a lot of room for "green" improvement in my life. However, I do hope the changes I have made are making a difference. Hopefully, your readers will get ideas from my life and come up with even more ways to help Mother Earth live longer and healthier.
01/04/2008 6:58:54 PM CST
Rebecca Asher says ...
I put reused plastic bags inside of my canvas shopping bags that I have in my car in order to place lettuce & all vegetables in them through the check-out. Rarely do I have to wash them out but just shake out any stray leaves and return to my larger shopping bag again. I make it a habit to never take a new plastic bag from the produce section. All the plastic that is in the world now, is here to stay so I avoid contributing that drain.
01/05/2008 2:49:03 AM CST
Rebecca Asher says ...
I only buy glass storage containers to put left-overs into rather than all the tuperware/plastic containers that are everywhere. Make a commitment to stop purchasing any plastic and see how far you can get. Any improvement counts. It is hard to get away from all plastic when buying yogurt but most food items can be found in glass (like juices etc.). It certainly takes more effort and some sacrifices but I feel it's worth it with the decrease in petroleum non-recyclable products.
01/05/2008 2:52:44 AM CST
Stefanie Schmidt says ...
This year for my "Green" resolution I am going to try and purchase as many "Green" products I can. Not just organic foods, but also household cleaners and clothes. It will be a challenge to not just go for convenience over green, but I am going to do it and help the environment at the same time.
01/05/2008 4:53:46 AM CST